Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The City Inn: It's Mint, Innit?

Because of the very late finish of my radio show I stay three nights a week in London nowadays. I stay at the City Inn Hotel in John Islip Street, near Millbank Tower. It's really nice hotel, very modern and almost Scandinavian in its design, and despite being quite big has a real sense of personal service. They also have hotels in Leeds, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow, with new ones opening in Amsterdam and near Tower Bridge in the new year.

But I have to say I was slightly horrified when they told me earlier this week that they were rebranding their hotels and in future they would be known as Mint Hotels. Why on earth would they change a brand which they had built up so successfully over 15 years? I've stayed in most of their hotels at one time or another and they really are a very different sort of small hotel chain - somehow they have built up a family feel. When you stay with them it's as if you belong to their family. So when I heard of the name change I just didn't get it. It was like you feel when your sister gets married and changes her name. I didn't like it.
But when I thought about it further I understood it. Perhaps there was a perception among some people that with the word 'Inn' in the name, people equated it with the Premier Inn or Holiday Inn chains. In this day and age, marketing in vitally important for any business, especially in the cutthroat hotel sector and you really need to transmit in your name, what you do (which is why my company is called Biteback!).
So as my friends at Mint Hotels enter a new era, I just wanted to wish them well and encourage my readers to try them out. They have a fantastic bar, the Millbank Lounge on the first floor and a superb restaurant, the City Cafe, which offers a 5 star menu at very reasonable prices. You get a Mac computer and TV in each room, and they don't charge for WiFi access. I have never understood why hotels charge £10-£15 a day for WiFi. It annoys the customer and after the initial installation it can't cost an awful lot to provide, and if it does, why not include it in the room rate? In fact, I invariably won't stay in a hotel nowadays which charges for WiFi. It just seems as if they are fleecing the customer.
I know this post reads like an advert, but I can promise you it isn't and no money has changed hands. You know me - if I don't like the service a company provides, I say so, but it's only fair that when I experience really good service I also say so.
Now, about that upgrade...

15 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

I can exclusively offer you a luxury double room in my own flat, just a few minutes walk from your office. I bet it would be cheaper ;-)

Michael Fowke said...

Iain, you shouldn't tell everyone where you're staying, you might get mobbed by fans.

John said...

The City Inn by Millbank is very good, and their cocktail bar is splendid.

The reason for the name change was purely about the down-market connotations of the word "Inn"

Osama the Nazarene said...

Fair comment say I. Will look out for them.

troymolloy said...

Okay I understand that Premier Inn is pretty downmarket, but Holiday Inn? Their prices usually aren't.

asitc said...

Always good to hear a recommendation Iain. Don't be shy to plug things like this. Thanks.

I notice that their room rate is about £230 a night. For that amount, I can offer you a comfortable studio flat in Docklands, all mod cons + free wifi + free parking!

Darren Jones said...

Radio show and too much time living in a hotel. Oh you really are morphing into Alan Partridge

Michael Heaver said...

Am liking the Mint brand name to be fair. Though perhaps connotations to strip joints.

DespairingLiberal said...

Hope you get a discount on the minibar after a plug like that.

Max Atkinson said...

Couldn't agree more about extortionate hotel charges for WiFi. Have always assumed it's to replace the dosh they used to get from extortionate charges for phone calls from your room - which they lost because they even made mobile phone charges seem a good buy in comparison!

Chris A said...

Iain, "can't understand". And you a good Tory too. It's called profiteering. Lots of private firms do it.

Brian said...

Mint Hotel- won't that be abbreviated to M Hotel or Motel? VV Classy. Well done rebranding consultants.

WV lumintin or mint in loo, the alternative to chocolate on pillow?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Mint Hotel is very easy to remember and is distictive name. A far better name than something inn.

Scary Mary said...

AHA

DespairingLiberal said...

"Mint" will have been provided by some fashionable ad agency (red glasses, superior attitudes) in Soho. Cost: £250,000 minimum.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, some of us non-Tory- independent-but-somehow-strangely-affiliated non-spokespeople are wondering if we might be able to afford a short holiday at the Travelodge in Porthmadog.

My word verification was "spoiledite".